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Full text of "A brief history of the Presbyterian Church at Bedford, N.Y. : from the year 1680, with an account of the laying of the corner-stone, and the services at the dedication of the present edifice in the year 1872"

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The proprietors of the tract of land, six miles square, named 
by the General Court of Connecticut " Bedford," after a town 
of tlie same name in Bedfordshire, England, whence the early 
settlers, for the most part, came in 1680, made provision for 
building a meeting-house on the common and supplying a min- 
ister. In all probability the gospel had been preached occasion- 
ally in this region of country, to the few families settled here, 
earlier than this. 

In 1681 the General Court, held at Hartford, under whose 
jurisdiction tiiis province then belonged, instructed the Com- 
mittee then residing at Stamford, who had been appointed to 
lay out a plantation in this part of the country then called the 
hop ground, to take care that there should be a suitable lot laid 
out for the minister of the place— a lot for the minister forever. 
In the town records we find the following minute : " 22d March, 
1680. The proprietors agree that vot the committee had done 
in laying out ye town plot ; and the house-lots shall stand, and 
the place they reserved for the town common ; and the town 
Lot to be as tliey laid it ont and the meeting house shall be set 
upon the connnon so layed out, namly the rock called Bates his 
Hill." Mr. Bolton, in his history of Westchester County, says 
the first rehgious society organized in Bedford in 1680, was 
Congregational, at that time the established religion of the 
colony of Connecticut. 

This must have been a kind of church and state affair, for 
the town at regular meetings transacted all the business of a 
religious nature. The first minister of whom we have any 
knowledge, who preached in Bedford, to then only about eleven 
inhabitants beside the Indians, was the Rev Peter Fruddon, who 
in 1675 the General Court of Connecticut ordered to resume his 
settlement in Rye. It would appear that he came from Rye, 
where he had formerly preached for some time. 


In tlie town records we liave this minute: "Dec. 2d 1681. 
They agree to give Mr. priddon, of Gemeco,* a call to be a min- 
ister in this place. Joseph Theale the chief military officer of 
tlie train band of Bedford is chosen to goe to Mr. priddon to 
declare theire mind in order to his coming among them as above; 
and Abra. Ambler who was appointed by the Court at Hartford 
to grant warrants to officers e witnesses, and to join persons in' 
marriage, is desired, to write to Mr. priddon in theire name and 
behalf:" Mr. Pruddon accepted their invitation and came and 
preached for them some time. We have no further knowledge 
of his labors. Where he lived subsequently and where he died 
we know not. Jan. 28th, 1688, the Rev. Thomas Denham 
was called and settled in Bedford, and the town ordered that 
£20 be raised for his salary. He was son of John Denham, 
deacon, and one of the first purchasers of Dartmouth : preached 
at Sheepscott in Massachusetts colony (now in Maine), and suf- 
fered great losses in the destruction of that settlement in 1675 
during King Philip's war. He came to Rye in 1677 and 
remained till 1684. Says a historian, ''he was advanced in life 
when he came and was held in great respect by the people here 
who gave him proprietary rights, which descended to his son 
Isaac who became one of the principal men of the place. Mr. 
Denham had preached a long time in the town of Rye previous 
to his settlement here." This was evidently his last settlement, 
for it is reported he died in Bedford after a few months' labor, 
aged 67. His will is said to be on record in the Court House at 
White Plains, and his grave is on the hillside in our old grave- 
yard in the village. 

During the next eight or ten years the people seemed to be 
supplied with the labors of intelligent laymen in carrying on 
the Sabbath and conducting their religious services. 

In 1689 the town agreed by vote " in case Mr. Abraham Am- 
bler, Sen,, will come up and carry on the Sabbath as God shall 
enable him, we will give him the sum of £20 a year as long as 
he shall perform the work among us." This vote was afterwards 
somewhat modified, for Oct. 15th, 1689,we have this minute: 
" At a town meeting, the town doth agree to build Mr. Abra- 
ham Ambler, Senor, a frame fortye foots long e twenty two 
foots wide and to set it up fit for clabording e shingling and to 
rais it up by the last of ^March to come after the deate hereof, 

* This refers to Jamaica, L. I. 


e the Louse above mentioned is to be teen foots e a half 
between ioynts and the frame above mentioned is to be sot ujd 
upon the consideration tliat Mr, Abraham Ambler, Senor will 
com np as often as he can conveniantlj to cary on the Lord's 
day amongst ns one year yt he may settle with us." May 14th, 
1090, seven months after the former vote, at another town 
meeting Ave have the following minute : " The town doth by 
note chiise Zachariah Roberts for to cary on the Sabbath day 
wliill they can be other ways provided." 

Jennewary, 1691, Ave have this vote : " The toAvn by vote doth 
agree that as nuicli land e medow as can be spaired e not 
predigous to highAvays yt lyeth one the norwest sid of whip- 
ing-post brOok shall be keept for a ministar e to be disposed to 
noAv man els but a minister.'' 

October 16th, 1694, the tOAvn agreed to buy a house and lot 
of John Ambler for a parsonage, "provided his price do not 
exceed £35." In all probability the spot on Avliich the Presby- 
terian church (built in 1872) now statids is a part of this original 

"February 21st, 1691—5. The toAvn by note doth cliois John 
Holmes, Sen., Zachariah Roberts, John Wascott e Daniell 
Jones to carry on the Sabbath day according to the best of theyr 
descresion Avhill they ear other ways provided. 2ndly. The 
town doth by vote mack choice of Cornelus Selly to cary on the 
Lord's day along with ye others chosen e yt in Daniell Jones 

March 21st, 1698. The inliabitance of the town of Bedford 
by a maiger note doth order e agree yt. every acre of land e 
meadow Avithin tlie bounds of Bedford that is alooted unto per- 
tickler parsons ; both emproved e not emproved ; that is to say, 
what every man doth possess for their one ; that man or parson 
shall ])ay three pence an acre yearly for evry acre towards tlie 
maintaining of a minister amongst us. 

2nly. The town by a maigor uote doth order that this above 
said uote shall be presented unto the Jenarall Court at Herford, 
that it may be establisheJ as a law for the town of Bedford." 
Their supyJies all seemed to leave them, and '' ieneuary 9th, 
1698-9: the toAvn by a maigor uote doth order that ther shall 
be a request made to the ministars of the county to inquire for 
us, e to acquaint us where Ave may be lilcely to ataine to a min- 


istar and for his incnredgment we doe agre upon serious con- 
sideration for his incnredgment to give him a house loot e fourty 
acres of land e medow ; e tburty pounds a yer in curant pro- 
vision pay. Febuary 8th, 1698-9. The town by a maiger vote 
doth agree to improve the town loot this year in a town way to- 
wards tlie maintainance of a ministar e to mack theyer fence, now 
belonghing unto ye house loot e euery inhabitant to mack theyer 
equall sharis up with good sofisiant fine raill fence as it shall 
be layed out by ye towns men e it is to pass tlie vewars ; — 
e the town dos agree to plow, plant e tend the loot in a way 
of a town rate, e if any refuse or nedgleckt to dew theyr shair 
of fence np by the fifteenth of march next to come shall pay 
four shillings a rood to the town men as they may have it dun 
up as above said. 

November 14th 1699. The town by a maiger note doth grant 
yt. Mr Copp shall have the use of the ye towns land e medow in 
ye feild this next year without they want it for a ministar." 

Their efforts for a minister were successful, fur before the 
close of the year we find these records : 

desember; 26th 1699: The town by a maigor note doth 
agre to give unto Mr Joseph Morgan upon his comming to 
carry on ye ministry amongst us, seuerall particklars as folio weth 
for his settlement : 

lly to give him all yt rit of land e medow which the Town 
bought of Mr Ambler e of his son John upon the condisions of 
his comming and macking his abood three years with us. 

2nly To build him a hou? two story high, twenty seven foot 
long e twenty on foots wid with a leantu e a chambar chimbly 
e the condisbans that if Mr Morgan liveth e dyeth with us the 
house shall be his on e his ayres for euer, e otherwise if Mr 
Morgan see cause upon any acount to leave us, he shall pay to 
the town the ually of the chardg yt by an acount taken there of 
shall be giuen. 

Sly To giue him for maintainance for the first year forty 
pounds in good currant prouision paye and plant and mannure 
four acres of Land. 

41y To maniagefor years following and till ten acres of Land 
for winter grain^the produce of ye same for him ycrly^ife 


twenty ponnds in good currant prouission pave and more here- 
after as god shall inable ns if he stands in need thereof— two 
pounds of the same to be Delivered at Stamford or horse neck, 
if he Desires it. 

51.y To cut and cart to his Dore all his fire wood from yeare 
to yeare. 

61y to transport him and his famely to bedford or to be at 
ye charg theire of. 

Jenen 1st. Ihe town by a raagor note ses caus to repeall 
part of the first and second uote passed deseraber 26th, '99, e 
to resarue the hous e the whole homestead to themselves, ex- 
cept Mr. Joseph Morgan liueth cfe dyeth with us. 

2ly The town by a maiger uote doth chuse e mack chois of 
Mr. 'John Copp, Stephen Clason, John Miller, inner, Kichard 
Wascott, David Mead for theire comraitie, for to agree with 
Mr. Joseph Morgan for his settlement at Bedford acording to 
the acts of the town, e to tack the caire of ye whole manig- 
ment for his maintinance in case he commeth to dwell with us. 
Jose]3h Morgan was the grandson of James Morgan, who set- 
tled in Conn., 164Y, with the first settlers. He was the son of 
Joseph Morgan, born in Kew London, Nov. 6, 1672, and was 
graduated at Yale College : During the first year of his settle- 
ment, he was ordained by the ministers of Fairfield county, and 
preached a sermon according to the custom of that time. June 
12, 1700, he was indicted under the act of 1693 for settling a 
ministry, but was acquitted. Two years after, 1702, he re- 
ceived the degree of Bachelor of Arts, as one of the first class of 
graduates of Yale. When he commenced preaching— contrary 
to the practice of the times, he used notes, but some of his 
brethren protested against it so strongly, that he quickly aban- 
doned them : Having ministered at Bedford, and during part of 
the time in the neighboring town of East Chester for nearly four 
years, he removed to Greenwich, Conn , and preached there till 
1708: "It seems that in 1705, to encourage and sustain Mr. 
Morgan, the right had been granted to him to build a mill at 
the mouth of Coscob Kiver, now known as Davis's Mill. He 
built the mill and went to live near it, that he might manage it 
in person, and see that his jpeopV^s grids were well ground. The 
consreo-ation, after a while, thought his zeal in this matter 


was rather greater than they had bargained for, especially as his 
position down at the mill made him inaccessible to the people, 
and rendered his visits among them angel-like, ' few and far 
between.' Finding remonstrance, however, vain, they first 
referred the case to the neighboring ministers, to say what 
should be done. This showed forbearance on their part. 
Meanwhile, the good brother, as he had to take his salary, 
according to the custom of those early times, in grain, and a 
short allowance at that, thought it wise to stick to his mill. 
Whereupon the Ilorsenech people, never wanting in spirit when 
spirit was called for, grew impatient. They sent their commit- 
tee, Ebenezer Mead, Joshua Knapp, and Caleb Knappj chief 
men among them, to press the question to an immediate decision, 
whether Mr. Morgan would quit personally tending his mill 
(adding this, perhaps, to all their other objections, that a white 
dress was not in character for a Congregational minister), and 
attend to the parish. If he would not, they were to strike off 
his official head at a blow, and provide a successor. Now the 
inventions of our day are wonderful, especially in the line 
of sharp-cutting machines, mowers, reapers, etc. ; but our 
congregations, I will venture to say, have invented no instru- 
ment for disposing of refractory ministers that can go ahead 
of this ecclesiastical guillotine of 170S. Matters Avere now 
brought at once to an issue. Mr. Morgan decided to abide by 
his mill, and the committee decided to consider the pulpit 
vacant and provide a successor." He left there and settled in 
Freehold, N. J., 1709. In September, 1728, complaints were 
made against him to the Synod that he practised astrology, coun- 
tenanced promiscuous dancing, and transgressed in drink. But 
these complaints were dismissed for want of proof. He left 
Freehold and went to Hopewell and Maidenhead. Here he was 
again charged with intemperance, and w^as suspended from the 
ministry ; but he was finally restored through the kindness 
of some of his brethren. He pubhshed many of his sermons and 
treatises on other topics. He preached a funeral sermon on the 
death of his son Joseph, who was graduated at Yale in 1723, and 
died one year after. His text, Ps. cxxxvii. 1, and Job x. 2. 
Nothing is heard of Mr. Morgan after 17-10. His name disap- 
pears from the minutes of Synod. In 1702-3, the people 
called the Rev. John Jones, and here we have the first regular 


call on the part of tlie people to a minister, and liis reply in his 
own words, M'liich have come dowm to us as a precious relic of 
nearly two hundred years ago : 

Desemher 7th, 1702, the town by a unanimis note doth Mr. 
John Jones thanks for his labors with us the day past in ye 
work of ye ministry, and if ye sd JMr. Jones acording to our 
unighted desires continueth in ye w^ork aforesd three months 
among us, then we, ye sd town will pay him ye sum of teen 
pounds in money or equivalent to money upon ye account of 
ourfurder acquaintance, he with us & we with him in order to 
settle him, ye said Mr. Jones with us, if we & he agree at ye 
three months end. Mr. Jones, his answer — 

To my christian friends and neighbors, the inhabitants of ye 
town of Bedford, after dew salutations to you premised ; wish- 
ing grace marcye and peace from God ye Father & from ye lord 
Jesus C'hrist, may be multiplyed towards you & yours, these lines 
are to intermate yt yours I received from ye hands of your 
worthy messengers Mr Roberts, justice of ye peace, Mr Miller 
and Mr John Holmes. 

I unfainedly bless God and thank you for 3'our grateful ex- 
ceptance of my labors in ye ministry among you yesterday and 
do desire yt you and I may be more and more faithful in eury 
good work to ye glory of His name and our mutuall edification 
and comfort, and I do here furder intermate yt I have no ob- 
jecktion to make to your proposalls for my iucom^agement in ye 
work of Christ among you, but except them humbly and thank- 
fully, and shall by ye Lord's help without whonie I can dew 
nothing, ingadge in your seruice, yt God as I appryhend calls 
me unto for a quarter of a year among yourselves, begging your 
prayers that I may grow in gifts and grace and yt my poor 
labors may be blessed for ye promoting of ye spirituall and eter- 
nall wellfair of your precious and emortal souls which will be 
to me great joy and comfort wdiich is all in haste, from your 
friend and servant, for Christ's sake. 

John Jones, from my study 
Bedford Desember 7th, 1702! 

A true copy received from Mr. Jones which I received and 
entered. Zachakiah Roberts 



After the three months had expired, it seems tliat tlie people 
desired to continue Mr. Jones as their minister, as we learn from 
the following recorded correspondence : 

-Feb. loth, 1702-3. the town bj a nnanimous vote doth ae^ee 
to give unto Mr John Jones minister of ye gospell, all yt i-ight 
of land and meadow with ye house and home loot which ye 
town bought of Mr. Ambler npon ye account yt sd. Mr Jones 
settle with ns in Bedford and carryeth on ye work of ye min- 
istry among us, — and forty pour.ds a year for his maintenance 
in speshe as followeth — that is to say — winter wheat at 4:S,. 6d pr 
bushell, ry 3s. pr bnshell, flax 6d. pr pound, beef one penny 
half-penny pr pound, pork two pence half-penny pr. pound. 
And in case Mr John Jones continueth with us until lie be settled 
and ordained in gospell order amongst us, then ye above sd house, 
land & medowto be his owne for him & his forever; as witness 
our hands thus underwritten. Zachariah Roberts, Clark 
John Miller, John Holmes sen'r, Cornelius Seely, John Holmes, 
Jr., Richard Holmes, Richard Wescott, Xathan Clark, Cor- 
nelius Seely Junr., Jonathan Holmes, David Miller, John Wes- 
cott, David Holmes, Zachariah Roberts Junr., Joseph Hunt, 
Jno. Dibbell, Thomas Howard, Joseph Palmer. 


My good Friends. 

These are in answer to your unanimous mo- 
tion, made unto me respecting the work of the ministry to be 
carried on in your place ; that having endeavoured at Due con- 
sideration of the motion I apprehend encouridgment on the one 
hand And Discouridgment on the other; encouridging To me 
Are my own Affection. Altho unworthy According to my 
poor capacity in that way to be serving the interest of my Dear- 
est Lord and Master. And if I may Be profitable to the eternall 
good of Precious and Immortall Soules, with which is to Be 
Added in Relation to your Place, your unanimous Agreement, 
And good Affection manifested During my Late Short Abode 
with you. And your uneversal Desires of my further Improve- 
ment in that Sacred Imployment with you; Discouridgeing to 
me is the uncertain face of things with Respect to the govern- 


merit's allowance and approbation of my Impi-ovement freed 
from any Impositions which I doe comply with, however in 
fine my thoughts are these, tliat soe long as I may L)iserue the 
Providence of God going Before, Guiding and Directing me, 
continuing your good Affections to my Service, And Eeasonable 
Encouridgement and Support, preventing and Diverting any 
snares or yoke uneasy to my conscience, your Precious and 
Dear Souls, To Be Dillegent in the ministerial Improvement 
Among you. And to Banish all thoughts of the neglecting you, 
or Deserting the Spirituall work and Employment by you de- 
sired, this I conceive the Present needfull, from your Affection- 
ate friend and Enclined to Be According to Power — which (with 
thankful acceptance of your Late Proposalls for my Encour- 
idgement In Christ's Service Among you) is All tVom your 
Absent friend And Servant for Christ's Sake — John Jones 

Given in Att a Publick 
Town Meeting at Bed- 
ford upon their Desires 
of my Answer 

Aprillye 2d 1703 

November 30th, 1Y03. the town by a major vote doth make 
chois of Jonathan Miller, Nathan Clark John Holmes Jr. and 
Jonathan Holmes to take a list and make Mr Jones his this 
year's rate and to gather it for him. • 

Mai'ch 5th 1704-5 the town by a major vote chuseth Nathan 
Clark, Colleckter to geather Mr Jones, his half year rate. 

After preaching here a short time, Mr. Jones went to Gieen- 
wich and preached for that people. 

Yery little is known of the history of the Presbyterian Church 
in Bedford for the next sixteen years ; in the meantime the 
church had changed its form of government, from that of Inde- 
pendent to that of Presbyterian. "Who supplied the people with 
the gospel, we have not been able to find out ; but God preserved 
and fostered the little band of Christian men and women, while 
they planted their feet upon the good sound scriptural principles 
of Presbyterianism : Here they stood, fortified by faith and 
prayer, until God heard and answered, and sent them from far 


over tlie sea a man a^*-or His own heart, to break imto them the 
Bread of Life. 

May od, 1720. — Rev. William Tennent was invited here to 
preach the gos])eL It is not certain whether he was ever 
regularly installed — probably not, as he nnited first with the 
Presbytery of Philadelphia after he left here — for he remained 
here only a short time. The church, in all probal:»ility, belonged 
at this time to the Presbytery of Long Island, which numbered 
but two or three ministers, and it was not convenient then as 
now to hold a meeting of Presbytery. Mr. Tennent came from 
L-eland, and was first settled in East Chester, New York. From 
there he came to Bedford, and from Bedford, after a little more 
than a vear's labor, he went to Bensalem and Smithfield churches, 
in Pennsylvania. From there he accepted a call to Neshaminy, 
1T2G, where a rich man, by the name of Logan, a relative of his, 
gave him fifty acres of land, on the K'eshaminy Creek, on which 
to locate and carry on a school, which he had already com- 
menced. Here he built a small house, about twenty feet square, 
mostly of logs, rudely shaped, cut out of the woods from the 
very spot where the house was erected ; and being skilled in 
the Latin language, so as to speak and write it almost as well as 
his motlier tongue, he continued his school, and educated some 
of the first and most eminent ministers that ever adorned the 
American pulpit. This was called the Log College, out of con- 
tempt, by its enemies. Every vestige of it has long since passed 
flway, but this was the germ whence sprung Princeton College, 
Vvith all its vast influence and renown, giving chai-acter in a 
o-reat measure to the inteUigence and usefulness of the learned 
men in this country. Mr. Tennent continued till the close of 
life in Neshaminy, where he died May Ctli, 1746, aged seventy- 
three years. 

While Mr. Tennent w^as settled in Bedford, through the 
munificence and liberality of the people, he became possessor of 
some land, which his son Gilbert, in his last will and testament, 
ijave to the Trustees of the Presbyterian Society of Bedford ; for 
on the records of the town we find the following minute : 

" May 16 : 1749. Gilbert Tennent of Philadelphia in the 
Colony of Pensylvania, Gentlemen ; Son of and heir at law 
nnto Rev. William Tennent formerly of Bedford in Westchester 


County in tlie Colony of Kew York, but lately of Nesliaraina in 
the C(jlony of Pensilvania, Deceased, for the promoting and 
supporting of the gospel of Jesus Christ according and under 
the Preshyterian Dissipline in the above said Bedford— gave to 
John Holmes, John Miller and Zebediah Mills, trustees, and 
their successors, several pieces of land, formerly possessed by his 
Reverend Father, for the use and support of the ministry. From 
time to time the Trustees have sold the land belonging to the 
parsonage, which formerly consisted of a large Tract, for the 
more profitable use of the minister, until there is not more than 
eight or ten acres left at the present date. May 27, 1874." 

It is not certain who pi'eached the gospel in Bedford to the 
Presbyterian Church, after Mr. Tennent left them, in 1721, until 
1746. In 1746, the Eev. Robert Sturgeon is represented by 
Mr. Bolton, in his " History of Westchester County," as boing 
the minister in Bedford. He was a native of Scotland, He 
left his native land under some embarrassment, and came to 
New England, and was licensed by a council, greatly to the 
regret of Cotton Mather, by reason of his conduct here and at 
home. He is said, in President Stile's Papers, to have been 
settled in Bedford, JST. Y., for twelve years. But here seems a 
discrepancy in the history of those times, for the Presbytery of 
!New Brunswick installed here, in 1743, the Rev. Samuel Sacket, 
This would hardly seem probable, if Mr. Sturgeon still sus- 
tained any relation to the people ; but, says Mr. Webster, the his- 
torian, when so many other ties were sundered rudely, even this 
unbrotherly act may have been committed. Mr. Sturgeon was 
present, in J 745, at the first meeting of the Synod of New York, 
as a member of the New York Presbytery. His name is not 
mentioned after 1750 ; and where he finally settled and died, 
we have not the means on hand of knowing. 

October 12th, 1743. — Rev. Samuel Sacket, in all probability 
the son of Richard Sacket, one of the early ministers in Greenwich 
for eleven years, was installed the Pastor of the Presbyterian 
Church of Bedford, in all probability by the Presbytery of New 
Brunswick. He acted also as a sort of missionary in this part of 
the country, and in 1747 Crumpond obtained his services for 
half of his time, Bedford being weakened by the Separates. He 
supplied. Salem also, and Peekskill. In December, 1749, he was 


released from liis labors in Crnmpond, now Yorktown, and gave 
the whole of his time to Bedford, where there had been quite a 
^e^dval of religion, and the divisions and alienations in a meas- 
ure healed. He was what in our day would be called a new- 
school man, and very ultra in many of his measures — to such an 
extent that the Presbytery of New York took cognizance of 
them, and disapproved of their use ; and he sought conne(jtion 
with the Presbytery of 'New Brunswick, where he found more con- 
genial s])irits. He resigned the care of the church in Bedford 
April 4th, 1753, the affections of the people being alienated 
from him after ten years of pastoral labor. Many of the people 
refused to contribute to his support, because he refused to baptize 
their children ; but the Presbytery assured the people that they 
were bound to pay him. He left here and settled at once over 
the Church of Hanover, in Cortland Manor. He was dis- 
missed from here April 1st, 1760, and the next year was installed 
again in Crumpond. The church missionary of Hanover im- 
mediately wrote to England that the new light preacher had 
left them. Mr. Sackct had a great deal of trouble with his 
brethren in the Presbytery. He differed widely with them in 
both the doctrines and government of the Church. He preached 
for twenty years in Yorktown, or Crumpond, and finally died 
there June 5th, 1784. His tomb in the cemetery bears record 
that he was judicious, faithful, laborious, and successful in his 

On the resignation of Mr. Sacket, 1753, the Church of Bed- 
ford had leave of the Suffolk Presbytery to go to the Congrega- 
tional Association for a candidate, and there they presented the 
name of Eliphalet Ball as their choice. The Presbytery met at 
Bedford, Dec. 31st, 1753, and examined their candidate, ap- 
pointed yjieces of trial, and heard him preach from Rom. iii. 
28, on Justification. When their fomer minister came into Pres- 
bytery, knowing his peculiar views, the examination of Mr. Ball 
was resumed for his sake. He was installed on the 2d of January, 
1754 ; Mr. Silliman prayed ; Joseph Parke preached from Tim. 
iv. 6 ; Ebenezer Prime, of Huntington, Long Island, presided ; 
Samuel Sacket, the former minister, gave the right hand of fel- 
lowship; Pev. Mr. Dagget, of Smithtown, Long Island, exhorted 
the people. Mr. Ball was arraigned before the Presbytery with 
being too free with his neighbors' fowls when they came into 


his yard, with impudent levity and unguarded airiness of de- 
portment, with setting aside the elders and managing the churcli 
contrai-y to the Presbyterian mode. He was acquitted before 
the Presbytery, but admonished to be cautious as to his natural 
turn of mind, and more particular as to the formula suitable for 
baptism. But he had more or less difficulty with his session. 
He dismissed two elders, and created quite a division and diffi- 
culty in the church. He was finally dismissed from the church, 
December 21st, 1Y68, having spent fourteen years as pastor of 
this church. He died in Ballston, 1797. After one year of 
vacancy, December 13th, 1769, the Rev. Samuel Mills was in- 
stalled pastor of Bedford Church, and remained till May 18th, 
1786, when the Presbytery of Dutchess County met, and dis- 
solved the relation between him and the church, and the same 
day installed the Rev. John Davenport as pastor of the church. 
But Mr. Mills, though nominally pastor of the church from 1769 
to 1786, was absent from the charge for several years, having 
been driven from Bedford by the distressing circumstances attend- 
ing the war. In the meantime, their former pastor, Pev. 
Eliphalet Ball, returned, and assumed the supply and charge of 
the church, and remained in this connection till 1784, when he 
was dismissed. Mr. Ball having spent four years at Amity, in 
Woodbridge, Conn., he removed to Saratoga County, New York, 
1788, taking with him a part of the Bedford congregation. The 
settlement for a long time was called Ball Town, now Ball- 

Mr. Ball was the stated supply of this church in the stormy times 
of the American Pevolution, when the people were struggling 
for their independence. When the old church, built in 1680, 
was burned to the ground, having stood an hundred years, and 
having proved amiable to the hearts of the people of God for a 
century, they stood silently by and saw it reduced to ashes hj 
the British army under Col. Carlton. An old veteran still ling- 
ering among us, almost ninety years old, remembers having 
heard her mother say she saw the smoke of the old church rising 
to heaven, as sweet and holy incense, as the timbers yielded to 
the devouring element, though living a mile and a half distant. 
Mr. Ball saw his own house (the parsonage), his church and the 
entire village reduced .to ashes by the British troops ; but he 
lived to see a new house of worship built on a more commanding 


spot, and no doubt on a larger scale, so that the latter house 
exceeded the former in its external proportions, if not in the 
internal manifestations of the sphit of God. We have reason to 
believe that the records of the cliurch kept in the parsonage 
were destroyed with it, as we have no records of the church 
preserved till after peace was declared. 

The elders of the church, when the second temple of worship 
was built, were Ebenezer Miller, Jacob Smith, Moses St. John, 
and soon after were added Eli Tyler, Justus Harris, Peter 
Fleming, Ste^Dhen Benedict and Joseph Owen. 

Rev. Samuel Mills, who was nominally the pastor of the 
church, though not present continually from 1769 to 1786, was 
the son of Rev. Zedediah Mills, of Ripton. He was graduated 
at Yale College in 1765. In 1782 he was preaching at Patter- 
son (then Fredericksburg), and there he continued till 1789, 
when he joined the Anabaptists and was dismissed from connec- 
tion with the Presbytery. He died in 1815. 

In 1783 Capt. Lewis M. Donald gave to the Presbyterian 
Society the land on which the second house of worship was built. 
Here is the deed of gift as recorded in the town records : 

"• To all christian People to whom these presents shall come 
Greeting. Know ye that I Lewis M. Donald, formerly of Bed- 
ford in "Westchester Co. state of New York but n^w a Resident 
of Long Island, for certain causes me thereunto moving & out 
of Love & Affection for the Encouragement of Virtue and the 
propigation of the gospel, do hereby Bequeath & give unto the 
Presbiterian Society of Bedford in county & State abovesaid & 
to their Heirs & Successors forever, as long as they shall Remain 
a Society and as long as they shall stand in Want of a House of 
Public Worship or a Spot of Ground to Erect a House of Wor- 
ship thereon, one half acre of Land, Situate & Lying & being in 
the Township of Bedford in the County & State aforesaid. 
Bounded (as follows. Lying on an Eminence above the spot 
of ground where the former meeting House stood) Easterly by 
the Road that Runs from the Town to Cantito, Westerly, ISTorth- 
erly and Southerly by my own Land which land was purchased 
of John Eliot, Reference being had to the original conveyance 
to have & to hold the above Bequeathed & given Spot of Land 
with all & singular the rights and privileges thereunto belong- 
ing — to the above mentioned Society, to their Heirs & Succes- 


sors, agreeable to tlie above mentioned Terms and Conditions, 
and also I the said Lewis M Donald, do for myself, my Heirs 
and assii^ns, Covenant with the said Society, their Heirs & suc- 
cessors, that at and nntill the Ensealini^ of these presents, I am 
well siezed of the Premesis as a good indefeaseable Estate in fee 
simple and have good Eight to Dispose of the same in manner 
& form above written, & the same is free of all Incumbrance 
whatsoever, and furthermore I the said Lewis M Donald, do by 
these presents bind myself & my Heirs to Warrant & Defend to 
the above Covenanted premises to the said Society, their Heirs 
& successors against all claims and Demands Whatsoever, in 
Testimony & confirmation of which I have hereunto set my 
Hand & seal this the sixth Day of August in the year of our 
Lord christ one thousand seven hundred and Eighty & three and 
in the Seventh year of our Lidependence. 

LEWIS M DO:^^ALD. *"** 

in the presence of 

Stephen Cornwell 
Maky Cornwell," 

On the back of this old document we have this record : 
" Be it Ilemembered that on the 14th Day of June 1792, per- 
sonally appeared before me, Ebenezer Lockwood Esquire, first 
Judge of the Court of Common pleas in & for the County of 
Westchester, the within named Lewis M Donald the grantor to 
the within deed of gift and acknowledged that he signed & 
sealed & Delivered the same as his free & Voluntary act & 
Deed and having Examined the same and finding no material 
mistake. Erasure or Interlineation Do allow the same to be 
recorded. Eben Lockwood" 

The records of the town inform us that the town meetings of 
1784 and 5 were held in the meeting-house. The judges of the 
court of common pleas and the supervisors of the county held 
their meetings May 9th, 1786, in the Presbyterian meeting- 
house in Bedford, so that we have conclusive proof that this 
second house of worship w'as built where it now stands, but 
which has been vacated by the people for one larger and more 
commodious, built on the ground owned by the church next to 
the parsonage. 



111 1785 the legislature of the State of New York incorporated 
the Presbyterian Society, to he known by the name of the Trus- 
tees for the Presbyterian Church and Congregation of Bedford, 
to be governed in discipline and worship according to the 
Directory of the now established Church of Scotland. The first 
{;ruotees elected were Zebediah Mills, Israel Lyon and Joseph 
Owen. These were the men, no doubt, who were prominent in 
erecting the church at that time. Joseph Holmes and Jacob 
Smith were appointed by the legislature to call a meeting for 
the election of these officers. Immediately after the building 
of the church in 1789, and the incorporation of the church and 
society had been completed, and the revolutionary war had 
closed, the session commenced the purification of the church, 
and made provisions for greater efficiency in the work of the 
church. During the revolution, as might have been expected 
and imagined, the church had become worldly and loose in doc- 
trine and outward deportment, if not in a great measure cor- 
rupt, and hence the efforts set on foot by some of the best and 
most spiritual men to correct and reform the character. Men 
were disciplined for the neglect of public worship, for the absent- 
ing of themselves from the ordinances of the Lord's Supper, — 
for the neglect of family prayer, for circulating evil reports and 
public scandal, and for a too free use of intoxicating liquor. The 
people now resolved to have the sacrament of the Lord's Sup- 
per administered quarterly and regularly. Previous to this there 
had been no regularity, and the ordinance was very seldom 
observed. They resolved now to take quarterly collections for 
the poor of the church. Christian liberality was in its infancy. 
It had just begun to develop itself, though nothing was done as 
yet for the perishing heathen. The seed of benevolence began 
to germinate as the means of the people increased. 

The people now resolved to hold prayer-meetings on the first 
Wednesday in every month at the dift'erent houses, and the 
member at whose house the meeting was held should lead the 
meeting and make the first pi-ayer. This was an admirable 
arrangement and might be practised profitably by their succes- 
sors in the church at the present day. A Confession of Faith 
and Covenant was drawn up and adopted to be used in the 
future admission of members to the church, and that persons 
shall not be admitted into the church until they have been pre- 



vionslj propounded two Sabbatlis preceding the communion, 
and that on communion days at the table of the Lord the ele- 
ments of bread and wine shall not be handed round from mem- 
ber to member as has been liitherto practiced, but that each of 
the communicants shall receive the elements at the hands of the 
pastor or deacons, and tbat all baptized persons should be con- 
sidered under the watch and care of the church, and should be 
subjects of discipline according to the rules of Jesus Christ, and 
none but those sound in the faith and of visible holiness shall be 
admitted to the special ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's 
Supper, and no transient person shall enjoy occasional commun- 
ion with the church a term exceeding six months without pro- 
ducing a certificate of his regular standing in some church of 
Christ, or giving a satisfactory reason to the church of his omis- 
sion to do so. These regulations and improvements in the 
church, and numerous cases of disciph'ne, showed that there were 
many here at this eai-ly day who loved the purity of the church, 
and were anxious for its greater power and efficiency for good 
in the world. 

They took place under the ministry of Rev. John Davenport, 
who was called here May 18th, 1Y86. Mr. Davenport was born 
in Philippi, New Jersey, August 11th, 1Y52. He was graduated 
at the college of New Jerse_y in 1769 ; studied theology partly 
under Dr. Bellamy and partly under Dr. Buell of East Hamp- 
ton, Long Island. He was ordained by the Presbytery of Long 
Island and served the congregation of Southhoid as stated supply 
for two years. From Southhoid he came to Bedford and settled 
May 18th, 1786, and remained here a fidthful and godly minis- 
ter for five years. Leaving here he was called to Deertield, New 
Jersey, and settled there August 12th, 1795. He remained 
there ten years and was dismissed on the account of failing 
health. He finally became a home missionary in Western New 
York, and died in Lysander, July 13th, 1821, an amiable and 
excellent man. 

In June, 1792, Rev. Isaac Foster was settled here, and re- 
mained not more than two years. We are in possession of the 
original subscription list, with the amount promised by each 
subscriber for the support of Mr. Foster for one year, commen- 
cing March 22d, 1792, in £. s. d. And here we find the 
names of the ancestors of families still residing in Bedford. 


The Millers, Mills, Holmes, Clarke, Lyons, Benedicts, French, 
Ambler, etc. Mr. "Foster rejnainecl probably two years, and 
left, as tradition reports, with his name and that of his Avife in 
bad repute. Bat we know nothing of the place whence he came^ 
or the place whither he went, or where he died. Then came a 
most excellent man, the Rev. Samuel Blatchford, who preached 
here for some time as stated supply, refusing to settle perma- 
nently. He was an Englishman, and was invited here by a 
committee appointed by the church, from Topsham, England, 
to settle here with the people in Bedford. He resigned his 
charge in Topsham, and sailed at once for this country. The 
captain of the vessel on which he sailed was present and heard 
his farewell sermon in Topsham, and so deeply was he aifected 
by it, that he immediately offered to take him and his family 
at a greatly reduced price, that he might have the benefit of 
his instructions during the passage, thous>:h previous to that the 
price talked of was so much beyond Mr. Blatchford's means, 
that he almost regretted having projected the enterprise. He 
left his native shores on the 19th of June, 179.5, and arrived 
within the Hook at New York on the first of August. Without 
any unnecessary delay he made his way to Bedford, the antici- 
pated field of his labors, but several adverse circumstances 
occurred in connection with his arrival here which occasioned 
his disappointment and even despondency. The most mortify- 
ing thing of all was, that one of the individuals with whom he 
had corresponded, informed him that as his arrival had been 
delayed beyond their expectations, they had actually filled the 
place, and a Mr. Benedict was engaged to supply the pulpit 
for one year. When Mr. Benedict, however, came to under- 
stand the circumstances of the case, he generously insisted on 
withdrawing in favor of Mr. Blatchford ; but the result was 
that they were both retained to supply alternately the congrega- 
tions of Bedford and Poundridge. At the next meeting of the 
Presbytery of Hudson, to which the congregations then belonged. 
Mr. Blatchford, giving assent to the Presbyterian Confession of 
Faith and form of government, was appointed the sole supply for 
Bedford, as many Sabbaths as convenient for him. But in 1796 
lie received a call to Greenfield, Conn., in the church that Rev. 
Dr. Dwight had formerly charge of. In 1797, he was invited to 
the church at Stratford (now Bridgeport), to preach for them 


six inoiiths with reference to a final settlement. He was finally 
installed here and remained for a number of years, botli as a 
preacher and an acce])table teacher of an academy built by his 
special request. In 1804 he was invited to take charge of the 
chnrches of Lansino'burgh and Waterford, in the State of l^ew 
York. He remained here for seven years, both preaching and 
teaching an academy most acceptably, and whore some of his 
old parishioners, now living in Bedford, at great sacrifice 
visited him. He died at Waterford, March 17th, 1828, in the 
sixty-second year of his age, and forty-first of his ministry. Dr. 
Nott, president of Union College, preached his funeral sermon. 
He was the father of seventeen children; of these, seven died 
before him. Two of his sons were ministers, one a physician, 
and one a lawyer, all respectable and useful in their professions. 

After Mr. Blatchford left. Rev. Josiah Henderson, of Martha's 
Yineyard, was called to preach the gospel at Bedford, and he was 
installed over the church by the Presbyterj^ of Hudson, November 
15th, 1708, and remained just five years. He was dismissed 
November 3d, 1803. The elders of the church were then — Moses 
St. John, Justus Harris, Ely Tyler, Peter Flemming, Joseph 
Owen, and Stephen Benedict, all most worthy, venerable, pious 
men. Mr. Henderson, though his pastorate was short, left a favor- 
able impression upon the church, and a good name among the 
people. We have the minutes of the church during his ministry 
here, and they show that he was a pious, godly, faithful man. 
We had, but a year ago, an aged disciple lingei'ing with us, 
who united with the church under his ministry in 1800, and if 
she was a type of the piety of the church then, we have cer- 
tainly at this date, made but little, if any, improvement in this 

Tlie Session resolved now for the first time, to hold a meeting 
every month throughout the year. A deacon was also appointed 
in the church at this time. We have no knowledge of Mr. 
Henderson's former history, or what became of him after leaving 

Rev. Ebenezer Grant succeeded Rev. Mr, Henderson as the 
pastor of this church, and was installed September 20th, 1804. 
He preached here for seventeen years. He was a native of New 
Jersey, and came here from the Presbytery of New Brunswick. 
The records of the church during his pastorate are very meagre. 


He was a foithfnl, good man, but his labors were not abundantly 
blessed. Only seventy-two united with the church during his 
long pastorate. He had about him a godly set of men as elders 
in the church. Mr. Grant was never married, and this no 
doubt had its influence in limiting his success as a minister. 
At his death, the session of the church made this record of their 
deceased pastor : 

"Be it remembered that on the 6th day of September, 1821, 
the Rev. Eben. Grant, having fulfilled his ministry, closed 
the scene of life, and sleeps with his fathers, being buried 
in the town of Bedford, in the burying ground in the village." 

Eev. Dr. Isaac Lewis, of Greenwich, preached his funeral 
sermon fi-om E-ev. xiv. 13. " And I heard a voice from Heaven 
saying unto me. Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord 
from henceforth : Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from 
their labors; and their works do follow them." His remains 
lie beneath the green sward under the clift", where the ground is 
terraced gradually up to the overhanging rocks, and on the 
broad marble slab marking this interesting spot, the sculptor 
has engraven these words : 


to the memory of the 

E.EVD. Ebenezek Grant, 

17 years minister of the 

Presbyterian Church in Bedford, 

who departed this life Sept. 6, 1821, 

Aged 48 years. 

" Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord 

from henceforth : yea, saith the Spirit, that 

they may rest from their labors ; 

and their works do follow them." 

Rev. xiv. 13. 

There is not an individual member of the church living who 
was present when Rev. Mr. Grant was installed here. Officers 
and private members have all passed away. And there is only 
one member of the church living who followed their beloved 
pastor to his grave and saw his remains deposited in their 
mother dust. Our fathers, where are they ? and the prophets, 
do they live forever? Only a few months elapsed before the 


chnrch was again supplied with a pastor. April 16, 1822, the 
Rev. Jacob Green was called and installed pastor of this church, 
and remained here a faithful standard-bearer, a consistent, godly 
and acceptable preacher lor twenty-seven years. Mr. Green 
was a graduate of Rutger's College, N. J. He studied theology 
at the Princeton Theological Seminary. He entered the semi- 
nary the first year it opened, in 1812, and remained two years. 
He was a native of Hanover, N, J,, and was first settled in 
Suckasunny, ]^. J. Leaving this, his first charge, he was after- 
wards appointed a domestic missionary in Western Yirginia, 
where he was married. From this field he was called to take 
charge of the Presbyterian church in this place, April 16, 1822. 
Mr. Green was the nephew of the venerable and distinguished 
Ashbel Green, one of the former Presidents of Princeton College, 
and author of some valuable theological works. The labors of 
Mr. Green in the church, as many now living are ready to bear 
witness, were greatly blessed. The church by his fidelity was 
greatly enlarged, and many new plans were adopted for its greater 
efiieiency at home and in the foreign fields. He loved the cause 
of missions, and frequently had young men in his family, board- 
ing or educating them, while they were preparing for the min- 
istry at home or abroad. He was greatly beloved by his breth- 
ren in the ministry, and held in high esteem by the executive 
of all our benevolent boards and directors of our seminary at 
Princeton. God never blessed him with any children, while 
many look up to him as their spiritual father, and many in the 
congregation bear his honored name. After more than a quar- 
ter of a century pastorate here, and marrying the children that 
he had baptized, and burying nearly all the congregation to 
whom he preached when he first came among them, aliena- 
tion and dissatisfaction arose that almost broke his heart. 
He was dismissed by Bedford Presbytery from this charge, 
June 25, 1848. A kind providence provided for his faithful 
servant. The governor of the State of New York sent him an 
appointment, previous to his leaving Bedford, to act as chaplain 
in the State prison at Sing-Sing. Completing his appointment 
here, his health becoming impaired, he supplied a few churches 
in Presbytery for a short time ; but the time for his departure 
came and he laid down his commission as a minister of the gospel, 
and resigned his ransomed spirit to God who gave it, in Sing- 


Sing, September, 1851, and was buried in their beautiful ceme- 
tery, to await the glorious rewards of the resurrection morning. 
The venerable Dr. Spring, of ISTew York, who has recently gone 
to meet him, pi'eachedan appropriate sermon on his funeral oc- 
casion. His wife still survives him. While Mr. Green was 
pastor of the church, twenty-five hundred dollars were raised 
to make extensive repairs on the church, to remodel and refur- 
nish it complete. A beautiful and sweet-toned bell was also, 
bought and hung in the tower. But what was more noble than 
all, a thank-offering to God was made by the pastor and a 
few of the people on the occasion of the semi- centenary, or 
coujpletion of the fiftieth year of the first meeting of the Gen- 
eral Assembly in this country, to the divine mercies and deliver- 
ances during that period. 

This offering was made December, 1839, and consisted of 
about three hundred dollars. It was observed by order of the 
General Assembly. 

May 1st, 1848, Rev. David Inglis was called to take charge 
of the Church of Bedford. He was installed here over this 
people October 26tli, 1848. He was a young man, a little 
rising twenty years, receutly from Scotland, of great promise for 
usefulness, having preached a short time previous to his coming 
here in the lower part of this county — Washington Heights. 
But his pastorate, while pleasant, was short ; for, after four 
years of successful labor, a wider field of usefulness and a more 
competent support were offered him in the city of Montreal, 
Canada East, which he felt bound to accept ; consequently, he 
removed fi'om Bedford to his new field of labor in June, 1852. 
Here lie soon sustained a most severe domestic aftiiction in the 
loss of his wife and three children. Amid a cloud of dark 
providences he removed to Canada West, having received a call 
to a Presbyterian church in Hamilton. Here he remained six- 
teen years, a most worthy and acceptable pastor, and success 
crowned his indefatigable labors. 

In the summer of 1 871, he was elected by the Synod to a 
Professorship of Theology in Knox College in Toronto, on Lake 
Ontario ; and in obedience to the mandate of the Synod, as a 
good Presbyterian, he entered upon his new field of labor, great- 
ly to the regret of the good people of Hamilton, for every 
demonstration of attachment was made by the whole city in a 



Eefovned Church on the He ghts, B™*^''N„Y and there 
„e i. now, preachin, the g Wus ^^J^ ^^ ,, 
most acceptable manner to tlie peopie j 

'''X;^";4rif ahlt I -wed a BrooU.n paper, with 
the^l;:^ notice of Dr. Inghs and his brief h.story : 

. The learned dWine was horn in the year f^^^^ 
Berwickshire, in Seotknd-the yonngest son ot the 1 ev. Uav a 
r.Xof tha^ ph.ce, a well-known -'^-^ "'^T^^^ 
1 .1 ThP mihiect of this sketch was educated at the Umve biiy 
oTEdiuh ";Xe he graduated in 1S«, and;t«died D.vnn y 
there and xvas licenced hy the Presbytery of Carhsle, ot the 
E Ssh Presbvterian Church, in 18tt. Immediately after e- 
fef n.^ Ids license, he proceeded to this country, and after ha^- 
ng ^li :,me tin. inLveling in the West, and supp ym^^^^^^^ 
a year the Presbyterian Church on ^f mgton He,gl^ he .a 
ordained pastor of the Presbyte^.an Church of Period, West 
Chester County, in 1847. In 1851, he received a call to the bt 
Gabriel Street Church of Montreal, where he remamed 
two years and, being then in delicate health, he ren>oved to 
Hamilton Ontario, having taken charge of a newly-organized 
rfiurch toe He' remained at this station for sixteen years, 
andta 1871 was called by the General Assembly of the Canada 
PresbvterLn Church, to the chair of Systematic Tlieology in 
KnoS"e,Toront;where he had previously been teacbingas a 
error bo' h n Systematic Theology and Apologetics. In tlie M- 
lowtog year (1872) he received a call from the Retormed Church 
on the Heights, in the city of Brooklyn. 

Before the close of the year, December 1st, If^, David a 
Lyon was called and installed pastor of this churcl. ^^,1^"^^ 
was a native of New York; a graduate of Union Co lege m 
7it9 • ind studied Theology at Princeton, and graduated in 
\Z\ ^as^lined as aifEvangehst by the P-^yt-yf 
(Wdensbnro- in July, 1846 ; preached as stated supply at Cov- 
fnl", Ne°v York;';emoved to Wisconsin,; acted as a domestic 

26 peesbyterian: chuech 

missionary and afterwards stated supply at Mineral Point, Wis- 
consin ; and was then called to Bedford in the fall of 1852. He 
was dismissed from Bedford, having been appointed a synodical 
missionary for the State of Wisconsin. After a few years in this 
department of ministerial work, he was called to take charge of 
the Presbyterian Church at Winona, where, by unwearied labor 
and patience, he was instrumental in helping the people to build 
a new and beautiful house of worship. But in a few years he 
resigned his charge at Winona, and returned to what seemed a more 
congenial field of labor — a synodical missionary. And there he 
is to-day, exploring the waste and destitute portions of the coun- 
try, traversing the dreary woods and extended prairies, fording 
rivers, and crossing mountains, tracking the line of the railroads, 
to look up the lost sheep and feed them, and provide the means 
of grace for the careless and unconcerned. He has proved the 
right man in the right place. His labors have been crowned 
with success. •■ 

In May, 1857, the present pastor, Pev. P. B. Heroy, was 
called here to preach the gospel ; and here he has been for now 
nearly eighteen years. And you who have sat under his minis- 
try will bear witness to his fidelity and anxiety to build up the 
church, and bring the ungodly to the cross of Christ for salva- 
tion. Many have gone before to witness for us or against us at 
the final day of reckoning. In looking over the past, we are 
filled with humility at our unprofitableness, and are ready, if 
any good has been accomplished, to attribute it all to the grace 
of God. Not unto us, but unto Thy name, O God, be all the 
praise. The present pastor is a native of Putnam County, N. Y. 
He was graduated at La Fayette College, in the class of 1841. 
He studied Theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary, 
and was graduated there in 1845, and settled first as pastor of 
the First Presbyterian Church, Delhi, Delaware County, N. Y., 
in 1845. December 16th, 1850, he was called and settled as 
pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Highlands, Orange County, 
,in the Presbytery of North River. Leaving the Highlands in 1856, 
he was called to the Second Presbyterian Church of Bridgeton, 
N. J., in July, 1856, where he remained but a few months, for 
in May, 1857, he received a unanimous call to the Presbyterian 
Church, Bedford, where he was installed pastor, October 29th, the 
same year, and where he has been ever since. Of the ten pastors 


and stated supplies who have served this church since its organiza- 
tion, after tlie Revolution, on\y three survive. All the rest, with 
all who preached liere the hundred years hefore the Revolution, 
when this country was almost a wilderness and sparsely in- 
habited, have passed away. 

In the summer of 1871, it was observed that the rude hand 
of time was leaving sad marks of decay in many parts of their 
long-cherished house of worship. Its outer covering, its frame, 
its walls, and its furniture, all rendered it inconvenient as a 
house of worship for its large and prosperous congregation, with- 
out extensive repairs. Just in this emergency, God inclined in 
answer to prayer, we have no doubt, and the gentle solicitations 
of his wife, one of the former members of this church, who left 
us nearly forty years ago, and went to 'New York city, and by 
industry and economy, and the smiles of a gracious Providence, 
has been enabled to accumulate a handsome property ; and now, 
in the generosity and benevolence of his heart, for the glory of 
God and the good of souls, with the help of his wife, who is ever 
ready to respond to the wants of the needy, offered to build a 
new house of worship, and present it unencumbered to them. 
This generous otter was gladly accepted, and on June 29th, 
1871, the corner-stone of the new edifice was laid on the lot next 
to the parsonage. In these interesting exercises, which the 
people came to witness from far and near in great numbers — for 
it was a gala day for them — the choir sang Psalm cxviii. 3, read 
by Rev. Dr. Sawyer of the Baptist Church ; prayer was offered 
by the Rev. John Hancock, of Mount Kisco ; the Scriptures — 
1 Coi-., 3d ch. — were read by the Rev. J. H. Hawkshurst, of the 
Methodist Church, Bedford. An address by the Rev. J. P. 
Thompson, D.D., of the Tabernacle Church, New York, and 
also an address by Rev. Wilson Phraner, of Sing Sing ; and an 
address also by A. B. Baylis, Esq., of Brooklyn, ]Sf. Y. Con- 
gratulatory remarks by Rev. Mr. Hawkshurst of the Methodist 
Church, and Rev. Lea Lequeer of the Episcopal Church, both 
of Bedford. Rev. Wm. Patterson, of Poundridge, read the 464th 
Hymn, which ^vas sung by the choir in an appropriate manner* 
A brief history of the church was read by the pastor. Rev. 
P. B. Heroy ; and it, and a copy of the Holy Bible, the silver 
coin of the date of 1871, a gold dollar of the same date, 
specimen bills of the postal currency of 1871, the Presby- 


terian of June 24, also the IVew Yorli Observer, the Independent^ 
Christian Advocate and Jovrnal^ the Young FollUs Neivs, New 
Yorh Times, Herald and World, Home and Foreign Re^'ord, 
Foreign Missionary — the name of the architect, Mr. Jardine ; 
tlie name of the builder, Mr. Gednev ; the name of the mason, 
Mr. Andrews ; the names of all the ministers present ; the elders 
of the church, and the pastor ; and the magnaniraons donor of 
the cliurch, Francis A. Palmer, Esq. — were all placed in the 
cop]ier box prepared for them, and sealed up and deposited in a 
cavity made in the granite, and then the corner-stone was laid 
by Mr. Palmer, the donor, in the name of the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. Prayer was tlien offered by the pastor, the long 
metre doxology sung by the whole congregation, and the Rev. 
Lea Leqneer pronounced the benediction, and the vast assem- 
blage returned reluctantly to their homes, after a season of great 
profit and delight, as the sun was casting his setting rays on the 
distant hills. 

The new church was a little over one year in building — a year 
of care and toil, and yet of great pleasure, to those more imme- 
diately interested. On the L5th of August, 1872, the tones of 
the bell sounded out lono; and loud, and an immense cono^regation 
came together from neighboring churches and distant cities to 
witness the dedication of the new church. It was complete from 
cellar to tower, at a cost of $50,000; and when the notes of the 
grand and beautiful organ Avere heard, so soft and sweet, the 
people seemed wild with delight. In these dedicatory services 
the most of the members of the Presbytery of Westchester were 
present, and took part in them. Dr. Taylor, of New York, 
preached the sermon from Acts xi. 26 : " And the disciples were 
called Christians first at Antioch." 

At an early hour a large congregation assembled, and soon 
the cliurch was filled. Benches and chairs were brought in, and 
the crowd, numbering over seven hundred, overflowed the lec- 
ture-room and lobby, and out into the grounds. The scene was 
very aninjated. The pulpit was adorned with beautiful flowers, 
and was occupied by the Pev. P. B. Pleroy (pastor), Rev. Dr. 
W. M. Taylor (Broadway Tabernacle), New York, and Rev. 
Dr. Craig, of Western New York. There were a number of 
clergj'men present, some of whom assisted. 



The music was fur„i.l,«l by tl,e local cl.oiv, and a New York 
quartette under Mr. Harrison. 

SL,5 !M:-c";e.Jon and vf''^:^^^^^:: 

donorB wl,on> tl.e Lord had blessed plenty and lai.e 

Anthem, " O praise God in His holiness." 

Keading of the ITth chapter of St. John by the Rev. Mr. 
Phraner, of Sing Sing. 

Prayer bv Rev. A. R. McCoubray, of South East, New \ ork. 

" Guide me, O Thou Great Jehovah ! "-Choir. 

Reading of the Conunandments by Rev. Mr. Lewis. 

The 1285th Hymn was sung : 

" Here hi Tby name, eternal God, 

AVe build this earthly house for Thee. 
Oh ! choose it for Thy fixed abode, 

From every error keep it free. 

The Eev. Dr. Taylor then arose: " I have been req^^^ed by 
niv friends Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, to read tins letter. It i 
™pe the object of a minister's calling to proclann 'glad 

Xi ' This agreeable office of the day devolves upon me, 
^^f fulfill it wi?h joy. I look aron.,d this beauffnl ed,hce, 
1 I congratulate my friends and you upon jts conrplet , 
that it is so l-eautiful, so perfect and so substantml. I coug.atu 
ate him upon the success of his life, and th.s crowmng act It 
must be a cause of deep thanksgiving to be f'^^^Z^^ 
childhood's home, and among h,s own P«''Pl«''^ '"";""'"„ 
,r,ent In aucient times and in Eastern clmies, the good man 
^ho would benefit his kind digged a well that all m.g t drmk 
and live We have this day seen the completion ot th.s p.nt- 
::; welt from which we hope many may come to draw hvmg 
waters of eternal life. 

" I congratulate yon, my friends, in receiving, »"^ J"' '^^ 
brother in the giving. Be careful to use it in the Lo.d » serx 
?ce If were^rich "enough to build a drinking-foimtam n, the 
m dst of our great city, nothing could make me happier than to 


see eager crowds slaking their thirst. And I am sure nothing 
will give my friend and his good wife greater joy than to see 
multitudes drinking at this fountain, and after they are gone 
hence to know that, through their works, souls were brought to 
salvation. It is a great thing to witness this scene. But if I 
envy any one, I envy the giver. ' It is more blessed to give 
than to receive.' " 

Bedford, Westchester Co., ]^. Y., 
August 15th, 1873. 

Christian Brethren : This house of worship, now com- 
pleted, has been erected for your use as the Presbyterian Church 
of the village of Bedford, Westchester County, Nev/ York, and 
my wife and myself desire formally to present it to you, with 
the following statement and conditions : 

We have had no desire, in this undertaking, to have our 
names inscribed in your place of worship, but have been actu- 
ated in gratitute to Almighty God for the blessings He has con- 
ferred upon us, and especially for His exceeding grace in giving 
us the hope of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord, 
our Saviour. 

We do not feel that we can make any recompense to God for 
His mercy, but, constrained by His love, we desire to honor and 
serve Him. 

Another motive influencing us has been our interest in this 
community, in the midst of which we have had our summer 
home for many years, and this church as a Christian congrega- 
tion with whom we have been privileged so often to worship. 

This, as you know, is the place of my birth and the home of 
my kindred, and with the services of this church my earliest 
religious impressions are associated. 

We desire to testify our sympathy, and aid in the work of 
the Master here, of helping to maintain His service, and in bring- 
ing souls to Christ. 

In the conception and prosecution of this enterprise, my wife 
has been intimately associated with me — indeed, it has been 
with her a cherished wish for years ; and with this, as so much 
else of my life, she has been, under God, an inspiration of 

The best artists, workmen, and materials have been employed 


in the construction and furnishing of this building, and I do not 
know of anything wliich remains to be added to render it ready 
for use. I have used every exertion to make it suitable and 
convenient for your purposes, religious and social, as a church 
and congregation. 

And now, in presenting to you this house of worship, we 
desire to submit the following conditions, upon wdiich, we 
understand, our views are in harmony : 

1st. The church is to be a free church, as this phrase is gen- 
erally accepted ; the pews are to be free, so that all who choose 
to come to worship God here will feel at liberty to do so. The 
current expenses of the church and congregation to be met by 
subscription on the part of those interested in its maintenance, 
or by any plan of systematic contribution the congregation may 
deem proper to adopt. 

2d. The congregation obligates itself to keep the property in 
good and necessary repair, and to preserve and perpetuate in it 
religious services. 

Your acceptance of the property will be understood as the 
acceptance also of the conditions before expressed. 

Thankful for the ability to make the offering, we now through 
this letter make over to you, the Bedford Presbyterian Church 
and Society, all our interest and right in the building we have 
erected, praying also that the Master will mercifully accept and 
grant that in it His people may be comforted and strengthened, 
and many souls " added to the church daily of such as shall be 
saved." Most respectfully yours, 

Fkancis a. Palmek. 

Mr. Williamson, in behalf of the Trustees, briefly accepted 
the conditions and the gift, and returned thanks. 
The Rev. Mr. Heroy then said : 

" A word only need be said in regard to the origin and com- 
pletion of this house. So far as is known to me, I believe the 
purpose to build this house originated with Mrs. Francis A. 
Palmer. She kindly offered three thousand dollars to repair 
and refit the old church. To this Mr. Palmer offered a sufii- 
cient amount to pay half the expenses of a thorough repair, and 
modernize as far as possible the old church. But good judges, 


after an examination, tlionglit tliat a larg:e amount of money 
expended in repairs on the old honse wonld be poorly laid out, 
and that a little more added to it would build us a new and con- 
venient house of worship. And the most of the peo])le were 
willing to cooperate to the utmost of their abihtj in an under- 
talking of this kind. But Mr. and Mrs. Palmer offered to build 
a house of worship at their own expense, and present it to the 
people completely furnished, leaving them at liberty to place 
any memorial in it, in any shape they wished. And here we 
see this beautiful house, in proportions and elegance far exceed- 
ing our fondest expectations, built and furnished, from the bell 
in the tower to the furnaces in the cellar, except the furniture 
in the parlors, and presented to this church and congregation as 
a memorial of God's unbounded goodness. It has no debt 
against it, and we are about to dedicate it to God unencum- 
bered by any claim. It is consecrated to God by willing and 
grateful hearts, and years to come will testify to the advantages 
of this house, temporal and spiritual, to this entire region of 
country. The spire w^ill point the travellers' gaze to heaven, 
and the bell will long invite them to hear the story of the cross 
of Christ. 

" And now, in behalf of the Presbyterian church and congre- 
gation of Bedford, N. Y., represented by a Board of Trustees, 
under a charter from the State Legislature, I accept most grate- 
fully this house of God, presented by the generous donors, Mr. 
and Mrs. Francis A. Palmer, as a free gift to this Society, to 
be preserved and perpetuated by them and their children, and 
their children's children, as a house dedicated to the worship of Al- 
mighty God . And we do here publicly engage, before God aad this 
vast assembly, that we will seek to carry out the intentions of 
the liberal donors in building this honse to glorify God and 
save the souls of our fellow-men. And we do further pledge 
ourselves that the pure doctrines of the cross, as taught by the 
fathers of the Presbyterian Church in this country and Eui'ope, 
shall be faithfully preached here. We accept, therefore, with 
the most profound sense of indebtedness, this beautiful, neat, and 
appropriate house of worship as a fi-ee-will offering to God, and 
as a memorial of His manifold goodnsss; and our united and 
fervent prayers shall be that the glory of this latter house shall 
exceed that of the former wdiich we have just vacated, in lasting 


and spiritual benefits to tin's entire reo;ioii of country, and that 
the blessings of Israel's covenant God may follow the donors all 
the days of their lives, and crown them His in the final day oi' 
accounts. We accept this house from tl>e hand of God, the 
Giver of every good and perfect gift, through the great kindness 
and liberality of His servants ; and our prevailing purpose shall 
be in all coming time to render to God the pure incense of 
thankfnl hearts, and devoted and consecrated lives. And thus 
this house shall stand for ages, a monument of Christian libe- 
rality, an honor to God and the Christian religion, and a pei-- 
petual blessing to this entire community. And in the spirit of 
the liberal donors, we throw the doors of this sanctuary wide 
open, and we invite here to this fountain of living waters all 
classes and conditions of men, of all names and circumstancee, 
assured that they shall be made welcome to its exalted privi- 

" To the tbllowing persons we owe great thanks for their suc- 
cessfnl and harmonious working: Messrs. D. & J. Jardine, 
architects ; Messrs. W. H. & C. Gedney, builders ; Messrs. N./ & 
H. Andrews, masons ; Mr. C. Otto Ficht, decorator ; Mr. R. 
Taylor, painter ; Mr. Kane, stained glass ; and general superin- 

Anthem, '' O beautiful ! " 

Rev. Mr. INevins then read »)th chapter, 2d Chronicles. 

Rev. Mr. Heroy then added : 

" The whole congregation will now rise while we proceed to 
the dedication of this house to the worship of Almighty God. 

" Dearly beloved : The Scriptures teach us that God is well 
pleased with those who build temples and dedicate them to the 
service and worship of Him who is King of kings and Lord of 
lords. The history of Christianity in every age will testify to 
the advantages of a house of worship to the interests of any 
people. God has smiled upon those who bring their sacrifices 
into the sanctuary and ofier them upon His altar ; and we are 
exhorted to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. For the 
extension, therefore, of the Redeemer's kingdom on the earth, 
and for the glory of His name, we dedicate this house as a house 
of God, to His service and worship, in the name of the Father, 
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without 
end. x^men." 


Hev. D. Inglis, of Toronto, oltered prayer. 

Antliem, " Great is tlie Lord." 

Then followed the sermon by Rev. Dr. Taylor. 

The exercises were closed with prayer by Rev. Mr. Fletcher, of 
Brewster's, and the benediction. 

The religious services were continued in the evening, and a 
crowded assembly, by their presence, manifested their interest 
in the new church. 

This brings down the history of the church to August 15, 
1872^ And here we close our skettdi. The church at present, 
July 1, 1874, is composed of 159 members, Rev. P. B. Heroy, 
pastor. Alvah Howe, Phineas Lounsbury, St. John Owen, 
John G. Clark, elders. 

Albert Williamson, W. O. Scribuer, and J. G. Clark, Tius- 

" Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity withiu tliY 
palaces.'' Ps. cxxii. 7. 

P. B. HERoy. 

014 222 124 A «